Heading up our prestigious jury is Joan Chen, the celebrated actress/filmmaker (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks, Marco Polo) and board member of the 1990 Institute. A big thank you to our hard-working 2016 jury panel, who had the difficult job of selecting the best entries!
- Joan Chen
Actress & Filmmaker; Chair, Youth Voices Jury
Acclaimed actress and film director Joan Chen is one of the international film industry’s most widely recognized and respected Asian stars. She began her film career at age 14 in Shanghai. Her performance in the films Qing Chun (Youth,lolo 1977) and Xiao Hua (Little Flower, 1980) catapulted her to fame in China, and garnered her the Best Actress Award. In 1981, Joan left China for the U.S. to study film at California State University, Northridge. In the U.S., she has appeared in over 40 film and television roles. Her most notable performances include the Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks TV series, Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth, and Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.
In 1997, Joan made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu:The Sent-down Girl, which received numerous international awards, including the International Freedom of Expression Award. In 2000, she directed MGM’s Autumn In New York starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder and Shanghai Strangers in 2012. Currently, she plays Empress Chabi in in Netflix’s Marco Polo, a television drama series about Marco Polo’s early years in the court of Kublai Khan, which is now in its second season. Joan is a long-time resident of San Francisco with her husband, Dr. Peter Hui and their two daughters. Joan is a Director on the 1990 Institute Board.
- Katie Benner
Journalist, New York Times
At the New York Times, Katie covers Apple. She was previously a Bloomberg News columnist, where she enjoyed writing about technology, innovation and the cult and culture of Silicon Valley. Known for her “financial chops,” she has also worked at The Information, Fortune Magazine,The Street and CNN Money.
Prior to her CNN days, Katie was a freelance writer based in China covering culture, business and politics for publications such as the South China Morning Post, Beijing Review, That’s Beijing and Xinhau Financial Network. When she lived in Beijing, she wrote about “everything from monks to music,” and is known for her eye for the offbeat and unusual. She has also appeared on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg West, Marketplace Radio and WNYC to discuss technology and Wall Street.
Katie most recently moderated two speaker events of the 1990 Institute’s CHINA NOW | Speaker Series , “Inside Alibaba: Globalizing China’s Largest Internet Company” featuring early Alibaba executive Brian Wong, and “Dealing With China & Lessons for Silicon Valley,” featuring former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College and resides in San Francisco.
- Nicole Chang
SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development, East West Bank
Nicole is an internationally recognized leader in strategy, finance and marketing with extensive experience in Asia. She is frequently consulted for her expertise on China and its people as world citizens. She is currently SVP, Strategy and Corporate Development for East West Bank, the premier commercial bank providing financial solutions between the East and West. Previously, Nicole spent the past decade in Greater China where her roles included Vice President, Global Business Development at DFS, a part of LVMH luxury group, and one of the world’s largest, most progressive travel retailers; CEO of a media company producing content for broadband and mobile telephone market; and COO of large wine importer.
Prior to China years, she was COO/CFO for a media conglomerate based in Eastern Europe that had publishing, retail, music labels, radio companies, film and television distribution arms.Ms. Chang started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co (San Francisco office) and investment banker with Morgan Stanley (New York office). She holds a BA in economics from Harvard University, JD/MBA from Stanford University, and film certificate from NYU Film School. She has founded several companies, and currently sits on boards including Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni. She is recently produced a short film entitled Agents of Change: The Many Faces of Stanford GSB in China.
- Tonia Chao Hsieh
Educator and Film Producer
Tonia Chao Hsieh has been an advocate for equity and social justice through education and media for nearly 30 years. She is the co-founder of KarMa Pictures, an independent film production company whose mission is to create stereotype-shattering films (The Debut, Restless and Americanese). Her passion for equity and social justice was ignited as a Business Consultant with ASIAN Inc., assisting women-owned and minority-owned businesses to “get a piece of the pie”–i.e., to secure contracts with various public agencies previously reserved for white firms.
Her experience in education includes her role as Undergraduate Dean in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, and as the Facilities Planner and Facilities Manager at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Tonia co-chaired the Board of Trustees for The College Preparatory School in Oakland, where she also served as Chair of the Governance and Trustees’ Diversity committees. She served on the Board of the Partners Program and is a founding board member of the Roses in Concrete Community School to open July 2015 in East Oakland. Tonia is a member of the 1990 Institute’s Board of Directors.
- Milton Chen
George Lucas Educational Foundation
As a leading figure in educational media for more than 25 years, Dr. Milton Chen is at the forefront of K-12 teaching and learning as it has been transformed in the Digital Age. An authority in education innovation, with interests ranging from project-based learning, social/emotional learning and technology strategies that enhance the educational process, Chen has made it his life’s work to improve practices and programs so that teachers, administrators, and students can achieve their full potential in an era of cutting-edge innovation and transformation.As executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia), Chen was instrumental in making the Edutopia.org multimedia website the premier online community for K-12 teachers, administrators, parents, and students. With its emphasis on social learning, teacher development, and technology integration, Edutopia remains instrumental in advancing 21st-century learning skills and changing education for the better through its unique digital-savvy approach to innovation.Prior to his leadership role at Edutopia, Chen was the director of research at the Children’s Television Workshop, where he worked on such childhood touchstones as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. He is also the author of the book Education Nation: Seven Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools, a new vision of learning that takes education from its traditional classroom into a bold new era of possibilities — digital and otherwise. He currently serves as the chair of the advisory council for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania.
- David Chiu
David Chiu is was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014 where represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco. Prior to joining the State Assembly, he served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years. With a reputation as a consensus maker, Chiu was the first Board President in San Francisco history elected to three consecutive terms, and the first Asian American to hold the post. David was elected Supervisor in 2008 and 2012 for San Francisco’s northeast neighborhoods of District 3, which also includes the city’s major tourism, retail, downtown Financial District, Chinatown and wharf areasThe son of immigrant parents, David grew up in Boston and received his undergraduate, law and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University.
In the mid-1990s, he served as Democratic Counsel to the U.S. Senate Constitution Subcommittee and Senator Paul Simon’s aide to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. After moving to San Francisco in 1996, David Chiu served as a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as a criminal prosecutor at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and as a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Chiu was also a founder of the public affairs technology company, Grassroots Enterprise, where he served as Chief Operating Officer. His past leadership roles includes Small Business Commissioner, board chair of both the Youth Leadership Institute and the Chinatown Community Development Center, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
- Alan Chu
SVP of Media, Smithsonian Institution
Alan Chu is currently Senior Vice President of the Media Group at the Smithsonian Institution. Alan has profit and loss responsibility for this division whose major properties include Smithsonian Magazine, Air & Space Magazine, Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Books, and a minority interest in the Smithsonian’s cable TV joint venture with CBS/Showtime, Smithsonian Channel. Most recently, Alan is leading the Media Group’s international expansion into Asia.
Before joining Smithsonian, Mr. Chu was with Time Inc. where he was in a variety of financial, marketing and management roles, including working with business unties Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Golf, Popular Science, Ski, and This Old House. His other career experiences included working at IBM and in management consulting after receiving his MBA from Columbia University. Mr. Chu lives in New York City with his wife and son.
- Sabrina Chen-Louie
President, JBF Entertainment
JBF Entertainment is a development, production and distribution company, with the goal of sharing Asian themes, cultures and stories with the world through high quality feature films, documentaries, short films and series. JBF also represents and promotes Asian-American directors, writers and talents.
Sabrina is an experienced film executive with expertise in acquisition, distribution, sales, production and finance. She spend her early career in Taiwan working with Era, CMC and Pandasia, acquiring and distributing films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Blair Witch Project and From Dusk til Dawn, among others and TV series. before joining Michelle Yeoh in 2001 to produce “The Touch” and “Silver Hawk.” Since 2006, Sabrina has co-written scripts and produced and distributed over 15 documentaries. In 2013, she organized the Asian Short Script Competition, with the top scripts being optioned and produced into short films.
- Justine Drennan
Assistant editor, Stanford Social Innovation ReviewAfter majoring in history at Princeton and getting a master’s in international relations on a Gates Scholarship at Cambridge, Justine spent a year and a half in Cambodia reporting for The Phnom Penh Post and The Associated Press. Since coming back to the US, she’s worked at The Nation in New York and Foreign Policy in DC. She recently returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and is now an assistant editor at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
- Edward Y. Lee
Filmmaker; former Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Edward is an independent filmmaker and activist, producing documentaries, short films and advocacy campaigns that highlight the stories of the marginalized and underserved. He was the videographer for the Obama Presidential campaign, and later an Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement. As President Obama’s liaison to the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, he built bridges between the federal government and the community to increase access and dialogue around policy issues like immigration, education, and health care reform.He also worked as the Youth Outreach Director on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Prior to that, he worked at the U.S. Department of Education, championing education reform to ensure that all students are given a world-class education. He helped co-found Jubilee Project, a 501(c)3 film company creating short films, PSAs and documentaries in collaboration with non-profits to increase awareness and inspire actions. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced over 150 short films, documentaries and PSA’s generating over 30 million views online and empowering the community to take actionable steps on political and social issues. He is a child of immigrants, and a graduate of Harvard University.
- Jan Lin
Editor/Producer of the Olympic Channel at Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS); US-China digital media consultantl l
Jan stumbled into the global media world. She first had her creative writings published by a local newspaper at age ten, when no one had told her that writing can be and is a career in its own right. Braving London as a ‘starving artist’ after college, she never imagined the (painful) childhood years of learning Mandarin to become bilingual and a semester of China Studies at college would unlock her wildest media career. With Beijing 2008 Olympic Games approaching, she was commissioned by a London-China cultural magazine to produce stories on the Chinese sports culture for the global audience. It was her maiden trip to China that summer which had convinced her how misunderstood China was and her role to bridge the gap.lShe spent all of her twenties working across four continents gallivanting in a range of media jobs. Perpetually curious, in the early days of the digital media explosion, Jan was quickly fascinated by the potential of YouTube and the Chinese social media ecosystem as effective tools to facilitate cross-cultural relations. By the London 2012 Olympic Games, Jan had become a pioneer in YouTube Sports streaming initiative as well as Tencent Sports’ global outreach initiative. Since then, Jan has produced digital web series on YouTube as a freelance sports producer and branded content for businesses and non-profits. Today, Jan is a part of the launch team at the International Olympic Committee’s new digital TV initiative – Olympic Channel.
- Annie Jie Xu
General Manager, Alibaba Group US
As the general manager of Alibaba Group US, Annie is responsible for the operation of the US teams located in San Francisco, San Mateo and Seattle. She joined Alibaba in 2000 and has been a leading force in its direction since day one. Under her leadership, Alibaba’s team in the US has grown from 3 people to over 150 people in the area of marketing, business development, investment, corporate communications, investor relations, product development, user experience design, data science technology and customer service. Working in partnership with key leaders in the US and highest level of executives in Alibaba, Annie currently focuses on organizational development, employee communications, talent development and training.Prior to Alibaba, Annie worked as the head of Sales and Marketing at Kubota Electronics, a fortunate 500 company in Silicon Valley for 4 years. She was named Top 100 Women of Influence by Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013. Annie received a BS in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
- Brian Yang
Actor and Film Producer
Brian is best known for his recurring character as forensic scientist “Dr. Charlie Fong” on the Hawaii Five-0 TV series. He has also starred in films such as The Man with the Iron Fists as Hyena, Quentin Lee’s The People I’ve Slept With as Jefferson (Archie Kao)’s right-hand man (and was also an Executive Producer of the film), Alice Wu’s Saving Face as Little Yu as Joan Chen’s love interest, Michael Kang’s West 32nd as Jahnkeh, among others. Brian was also the host of a reality show in China called Shanghai Rush.
Film production-wise, he was a producer of the 2012 Jeremy Lin basketball documentary directed by Evan Jackson Leong, Linsanity, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Other projects include producing Annie Undocumented, a Web series about young Asian Americans who are undocumented and Brittney Griner: Lifesize, about WNBA star Brittney Griner in the award-winning “ESPN Nine for IX Shorts” series. Yang and Leong have teamed up again on a feature film, Snakehead, which will star Lucy Liu. Brian was raised in the Bay Area, attended University of California Berkeley where he studied Biology and Dramatic Arts. He speaks both English and Mandarin. His career into Hollywood began after being cast as an extra on The Joy Luck Club
- Stephanie Yang
Public Relations strategist; Founder, Stephanie Yang Communications.
A board member of the 1990 Institute, Stephanie is a communications strategist in the technology and entertainment sectors with her own practice for the last two years. Prior to her move into Silicon Valley, she worked in Hollywood at New Line Cinema managing the online marketing releases for films, including the 17-time Academy Award-winning trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Austin Powers in Goldmember, and Wedding Crashers. She also helped market the Evan Leong documentary, Linsanity, on NBA player Jeremy Lin.